Detectives from Manningham Crime Investigation Unit are appealing for witnesses after a boy was grabbed by an unknown man at a shopping centre in Doncaster East on Saturday.
Investigators have been told the 9-year-old boy was playing hide and seek with friends at the Tunstall Road shopping centre when he was approached from behind while hiding in a doorway about 12.15pm.
An unknown man asked the boy if he liked cars before grabbing his arm.
The boy managed to push him away, but the man tried to grab his arm again.
The boy broke free and ran away towards his mother who subsequently reported the matter to police.
Detectives have today released a computer-generated image of a man who they believe can assist with their investigation.
The man is perceived to be Caucasian in appearance with a medium build, about 175cm tall with a long scruffy beard, brown eyes and had scratches on his face.
The man had a tattoo of a snake around his neck and a profane word tattooed on his left hand.
Detectives are also appealing for anyone who may have been at the shopping centre at the time and may have dashcam footage.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or recognises the man is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au